Send to

Choose Destination
J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 Dec;81(6):1103-18.

Self-Esteem and threats to self: implications for self-construals and interpersonal perceptions.

Author information

Department of Psychology, Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7123, USA.


In 4 studies, the authors examined interpersonal perceptions as a function of self-construals and ego threats for those with high and low self-esteem. Previous research (T. F. Heatherton & K. D. Vohs, 2000a) found that after threat, high self-esteem people were rated as less likable by an unacquainted dyad partner, whereas low self-esteem people were rated as more likable. Study I showed that after threat, high self-esteem people seek competency feedback, whereas low self-esteem people seek interpersonal feedback. Study 2 showed that high self-esteem people become more independent after threat, whereas low self-esteem people become more interdependent. Study 3 linked differences in independence versus interdependence to interpersonal evaluations. Study 4 found that differences in independent and interdependent self-construals statistically accounted for differences in likability and personality perceptions of high and low self-esteem people after threat. Thus, the combination of threat and self-esteem alters people's focus on different self-aspects, which consequently leads to different interpersonal appraisals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Psychological Association
Loading ...
Support Center